2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
the value of Living History and Historical reenactment
Andre Raymond from Canada
18 April 2012
The McKenna brothers have long worked with groups of historical re-
en-actors as a support for their documentaries (from the war of 1812 to
World War II) and here for the Great War.
Here, in a twist they use living history, defined as an interaction
between observers and history through tools, dress and placing them
inside situations in order to bring greater understanding of the
events. Descendants of the soldiers and nurses who gave their all in
World War I are brought along and share their insights as they live
through some of the experiences of their grand sires.
Dramatic re-enactments, professional actors and amateurs all mixed
together with documentary narration and a few photographs make for an
interesting mix. Some new insights. A good companion piece for the Paul
Gross narrated "Far from Home - Canada and the Great War".
I read on one of the discussion groups that the film's weakness is the
overly emotional reactions of some of these amateur re-en-actors. I
thought they were quite sincere and brave in sharing their emotions to
the camera. Stepping into history, living in a muddy trench for three
days with little or no sleep after going through a rough boot camp,
would tend to make most people vulnerable and yes, even weepy.
I saw a news report a few years ago about how they did the same thing
with a bunch of high school students in Ontario for a remembrance day
week-end, and the students were deeply affected by it. They had
Canadian soldiers and historians help out as technical advisers, they
dug a section of trench for the kids to live in, and set off fireworks
and flares all night and raided the trench to keep them awake and on
This documentary is similar, but on a larger scale, given that is is
all done on location.
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